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LSU Health New Orleans School of Dentistry Give Kids a Smile

LSU Health New Orleans School of Dentistry faculty, students and residents hosted two busloads of first graders from Dr. John Ochsner Kenner Discovery Academy Friday, February 3. It was Give Kids a Smile Day. After a rousing welcome through a tunnel of cheering LSU Health students, the youngsters were divided into groups to rotate through four stations and the clinic.

Activities at the stations included games and making healthy foods works of art out of modeling clay; dental hygiene how-tos featuring brushing, flossing and nutrition and the What is Healthier? interactive dancing game; coloring and face painting; and a photo booth for fun souvenirs of the Day. LSU Health New Orleans faculty dentists, dental and dental hygiene students, and dental residents screened and cleaned the children’s teeth and applied sealants where warranted.

The children learned about foods and drinks that make teeth happy or sad because of dreaded “sugar bugs.” They could perfect their brushing skills on stuffed animals with full sets of teeth.Purple, green and gold decorations, masks and festive face-painting designs carried out the Mardi Gras theme.

Dental students Grayson Lambert and Blaire Land planned and organized the Day, with lots of help from other dental and dental hygiene students. Dr. Linda Cao was the faculty advisor.



The American Dental Association launched Give Kids a Smile Day in 2003 to provide free oral health education, screenings, preventive and restorative treatment to children each year. It is a way of giving back that is particularly gratifying for LSU Health New Orleans School of Dentistry. The fun learning and preventive care they deliver can contribute to a lifetime of healthy smiles.

Statistics reported by the National Institute of Dental and Craniofacial Research include:• Tooth decay is the most prevalent chronic disease in both children and adults, even though it is largely preventable.

• 52% of children ages 6 to 8 years had dental cavities in their primary teeth from 2011–2016.

• 16% of children ages 6 to 8 years had untreated dental cavities from 2011–2016.• Children living in low-income households are twice as likely to have untreated decay as white children and those living in high-income households.

Educating about 75% of the dental professionals practicing in the state, LSU Health New Orleans School of Dentistry is the only dental school in Louisiana. It is unique among the more than 65 dental schools in the United States because it offers degrees in dentistry, dental hygiene, and dental laboratory technology, along with advanced postgraduate training in Endodontics, General Dentistry, Oral and Maxillofacial Surgery, Orthodontics, Pediatric Dentistry, Periodontics, and Prosthodontics. LSU Health New Orleans School of Dentistry offers a level of training that has earned the School’s reputation for outstanding clinical education.The American Dental Association, Academy of General Dentistry, New Orleans Dental Association, 3M, LSU Health New Orleans Chapter of the American Student Dental Association, LSU Health Foundation New Orleans and Campus Federal sponsored the event.

February 7, 2023

Article by: Leslie Capo, LSUHSC